LGBT journalists, bloggers, and other professionals will gather March 23-26 in Orlando for the 8th annual #LGBTMedia convention. The media members who most proudly cover the LGBT community plan to convene on March 23 at Orlando’s Rosen Centre with the specific goal of better informing each other on the current topics that most prominently impact the LGBT community. 

The convening of journalists this year is sponsored by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) and funded in part by Arcus Foundation. The Arcus Foundation works "with experts and advocates for change to ensure that LGBT people and our fellow apes thrive in a world where social and environmental justice are a reality," according to the website. Also funding the conference is the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, a private family foundation based out of San Francisco that “promotes equal rights and opportunities with an emphasis on immigrants and gays and lesbians,” according to the foundation's mission statement. 

“#LGBTMedia2017 is focused on giving LGBT journalists deeper insights into current topics and skills-building,” said Matt Foreman, Senior Program Director for the Haas, Jr. Fund. “Because we’ve added an extra day to the event this year, we’ll be covering a broad range of topics, including coverage of international issues and understanding journalism on trans issues.

According to their website, NLGJA is an "organization of journalists, media professionals, educators and students working from within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues." The LGBT media weekend is an extension of what NLGJA stands for, and it provides an excellent resource for journalists looking to network with their peers and learn more about what makes covering the LGBT community such exciting work. 

Hearing about others experiences, gaining advice, and being a part of a group of professionals that is so motivated to make a difference is a big part about what many journalists attending the NLGJA convention look forward to all year. 

“I’m definitely looking forward to the keynote from Cathy Woolard, the former President of the Atlanta City Council and candidate for mayor,” Jen Christensen, Board President of NLGJA told SFGN.  “She’s been fighting for LGBT rights for many years and I look forward to hearing her advice on how she thinks the community can move forward in what are tough times. In addition, seven journalists are going to give short talks based on their own experiences, such as staying professional when a story involves someone you know well.”

Obviously, the event being held in Orlando takes on a special meaning this year. Just about a year ago the Orlando LGBT community was devastated by the Pulse nightclub attack. The fact that so many journalists that were affected by the tragedy will be in attendance will not be ignored during the weekend. 

“It would be impossible to be in Orlando and not focus on the Pulse tragedy – it’s still front and center in so many of our minds,” Christensen told SFGN. “We will be hearing from a survivor and panel of journalists about their experiences in covering the massacre and what can be learned from that coverage.”

All in all, the 7th LGBT media event is sure to build on what the six previous brought to the journalists who attend. Through the good, and the bad, LGBT journalists are a tight-knit community that is constantly evolving. Meeting once a year at such a great event is sure to only foster better journalism in the future. 

“Along with engaging presentations and learning new skills, it’s great to be with so many other LGBTQ newspaper editors and bloggers.” Christensen told SFGN. “Our field is under tremendous pressure and talking with colleagues who face the same challenges on a daily basis is uniquely rewarding.”